An elections administrator in Hood County, Texas, submitted her resignation on Friday following pressure from residents and officials loyal to Donald Trump to force her out of office.
Michele Carew had overseen many elections over her 14-year career in a heavily Republican county, but had come to represent the mistrust of the electoral system by her critics. Those critics were in favor of giving her duties to an elected county clerk who spouted baseless allegations of voter fraud on social media.
Critics accused Carew of harboring a secret liberal agenda and of violating a decades-old elections law, despite assurances from the Texas secretary of state that she was complying with Texas election rules.
- Hood County seemed an unlikely target for election disputes, given that Trump won the county with 81% of the vote, one of the largest victories in Texas.
- Last month the Texas Secretary of State announced a comprehensive audit of the state’s four largest counties following Trump’s demands, as well as sweeping state legislation that targets disenfranchised voters and elections officials.
A four county audit wasn’t good enough for Trump, and he blasted GOP officials to expand the audit to other counties. When Hood County tried to defend their election, a GOP committee and the county clerk threatened a county judge with a social media blitz accusing him of not being able to keep elections “free and fair.” The judge attempted to keep the activities of the county election official in a non-partisan grasp, but the county clerk forced a vote to fire Carew. The vote failed by a 3-2 margin when the county tax assessor joined the judge — both Republicans — and the county Democratic chair to keep Carew.
The Republican county chairman then called to dissolve the independent office of elections administrator and transfer election duties to the elected county clerk, saying that it would make the election administration process more accountable to the county’s Republican majority.
Carew’s letter of resignation came on Friday.
The county clerk stated that she wished Carew “the best in her future endeavors.”